Bears vs. Lions — What 2 Watch 4

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Lions cornerback Darius “Big Play” Slay breaks up a pass intended for Bears wide receiver Kendall Wright in the Lions’ 27-24 victory at Soldier Field on Nov. 19. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Key matchup

Wide receiver Kendall “7-11” Wright was talking tough after his best game since joining the Bears in the offseason — 10 receptions for 107 yards against the Bengals. Now he’ll get a chance to back it up against a Lions defense that ranks 27th in the NFL against the pass.

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Even with Wright operating out of the slot, coming off a big game, he could draw the attention of Lions cornerback Darius “Big Play” Slay, one of the best in the business who’s second in the NFL with five interceptions and 17 pass breakups. More likely, Wright figures to match up with rookie cornerback Teez Tabor, a second-round pick from Florida who has emerged in recent games. That’s a matchup the Bears need to win.

“[Tabor is] obviously a good player, and he fits their scheme well,” Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said.

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The Bears rushed for 232 yards on 38 attempts (6.1 average) against the Bengals last week. That’s the fourth time this season they’ve rushed for 222 or more yards in a game, including 222 yards on 30 carries (7.4 average) against the Lions in Week 11.

Only seven other teams have rushed for 220 or more yards in a game all season, and each of them only once. The Bears are seventh in the NFL in rushing yards per game (124.5 yards) and fifth in yards per attempt (4.5).

The Lions’ run defense has collapsed in the last five weeks — allowing 158.6 yards per game to fall from sixth in the NFL (89.9 yards per game) to 20th (116.3).

The Lions couldn’t stop anybody on the ground in their 27-24 victory in Week 11 at Soldier Field. Jordan Howard gained 125 yards and had a touchdown on 15 carries, Tarik Cohen rushed for 44 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown, on nine carries and Mitch Trubisky gained 53 yards on six carries.

Key player

Even on the road, Trubisky has an opportunity to build on his best game of the season — playing in optimum conditions indoors at Ford Field against a leaky Lions defense. But as the Bears know all too well, that can become harrowing as well — if the crowd gets into it and energizes the Lions’ defense and spooks the Bears’ offense, Trubisky could be overwhelmed in a hurry.

X-factor

The Bears have not had a giveaway in back-to-back games and are a plus-8 in turnover differential in their last eight games. The Lions allowed 400 yards against the Buccaneers last week but had five takeaways (two interceptions, three fumble recoveries) in a 24-21 victory.

Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash.

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

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